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2009-03-19 00:58:36
Last author: loonygirl2005
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Blinking in the harsh light, Todd gripped his throbbing head in his hand and sat up awkwardly, his other hand ripping the scarf from around his handsome face forcibly. "Was ist dies?" Todd growled as he took in the surrounding landscape, not recognizing anything in the vast desert and hastily bought his goggles to his eyes, shielding them from the harmful rays. Whatever this place was, it was far from him home. Standing carefully, Todd shook his scarf, removing the dust and sand that had clung to it and wrapped it in his hands. Scanning around, the German man took in the two other people lying unconscious in the blazing heat.

One of them, a man dressed in a dusty trench coat and an old pinstriped suit, came to with a groan and a raging hangover. His hand patted around for his hat, but came back with only sand. Now his eyes opened and were punished by the violent light that exploded in his skull. Blinking it away furiously, he squinted to see the desolate landscape he woke up in. He sat up and groaned, confused, but his heart just sighed and said to itself, So it's gonna be one of those days, is it? His hand finally found his dully-colored fedora. He dusted it off and shoved it on his head to relieve his eyes a little from the cackling sun. He got to his feet, his back to Todd, and rummaged through his coat, suddenly wary--ah, there it is. The smooth handle greeted his rough hand with reassurance, still safely stored in its leather holster.

Todd watched with leery eyes, taking out a weapon and letting the blade slide out. The familiar and undistinguishable ssschink that the end of the metal made when it came to a halt sounded through the hot, still air. It was a voiceless challenge and question. Who the fuck are you? Although yes, the edge was out glinting in the light, Todd held it at a neutral position and made no attempt to stalk forward. He simply... held his ground.

The man whirled around at the sound, the revolver out of its holster in a heartbeat, and the hammer cocked its own grim reply as he stared down the sights at Todd, as dressed as oddly as the surrounding landscape. He looked almost like he belonged here. Seeing the blade, his stance became that of a lawman...I will kill you if I have to.

Asking carefully in several different languages, Todd spoke the obvious question, "Do you speak English? Do you know where we are?" He knew very well what was aiming his way, knew, but didn't flinch. His German accent wasn't very heavy, but it was still apparent and would be more noticeable if he encountered "th".

"Yes," The man sighed in relief, lowering his gun. Todd didn't seem any more in control than he was, so he relinquished his threat. "I speak English, but as for where we are, you know more than I do." His eyes never left the German's.

Smiling slightly, "Well, I don't know anyt'ing, so we're both on the same page." Todd retracted his blade as well and fingered the carvings on the housing, "T'is place I do not recognize, but I believe it to be a desert. I've never seen one before, except in books." The glaring sun was annoying him, but Todd gracefully stepped through some thorny bushes and knelt at the side of the third person. She was still unconscious.

The man holstered his revolver and followed him, standing on the other side of the woman's head. "I've only flown over them. I'm not familiar with where this is." He gazed at the woman's face, then at Todd. "Do you know who this is?"

"I haven't a clue." Todd pushed at the nose guard of his goggles before touching her forehead lightly, then putting it over her mouth to feel her breath. "She's alive, but we should probably find some shade, and soon." Lifting her up wasn't a challenge, Todd carried her slight weight easily into his arms and looked to his new companion. "I'm Todd." Due to the woman he did not offer a hand.

"Solomon," The man introduced himself, shrugging off his jacket and throwing it over one arm. It had become far too warm for it. "Good to meet you." He scanned the horizon, then glanced at the sky. The sun blazed down angrily, climbing the sky. "Let's head west," He said, and tromped the sandy dune, loosening the red tie around his neck and opening his collar.

He followed him silently, the woman would feel heavier over time, and he knew it, but he didn't want a death on his hands. Even if she did wake up she would be alone. In this situation one wouldn't want that.

"Todd, huh?" Solomon mused, to pass the time. His own Illinois accent glittered through a Los Angelino clip. "What part of Germany you from?" No oasis had presented itself yet, but his gut reinforced his directional decision.

"I live in the Schwarzwald, what you would call t'eh Black Forest. Outside Baden." Todd looked over and thought for a moment, "And you... are American, are you not?" He wondered why the man held no ill will towards one such as himself.

Solomon nodded. "Born an' raised in Chicago." He lifted his eyes back at the horizon, searching for some sign of relief; the sweat on his chest and back began to stick hotly to his dress shirt. "Never been to Baden myself. Seems like a tough place to live, although these days, I can't imagine the cities bein' much nicer, what with th'commies." He seemed very young to Solomon, whose scored face and heavy lines seemed much older than he was.

"I... I wouldn't know. I haven't really been among any ot'er people in over a year." Todd furrowed his brows and looked down, a slight embarrassed flush covering his cheeks. "I avoid anyone, haven't had any problems living in t'eh forest." He let out a breath and glanced upwards, wincing from the light. Strangely enough, the sun had just set before he had suddenly arrived here.

Solomon squinted back at Todd, still walking. "A real hermit, eh?" He said. "Well, it's for the best, really." He took off his hat a moment and wiped the sweat from his brow, replacing it. "You've got an impressive handle on English for a recluse."

"I came from a noble German family, and I have always had a... knack I do believe t'eh word is, for languages. After t'ings started getting bad... I well, I had to get out." Todd didn't mention anything more about his past for fear Solomon might turn aggressive. The ghosts of the people he had had to kill still haunted him and in response Todd shuddered.

"I'll be kind, then, and assume you're not a Nazi, or a communist;" Solomon declared. "Good. That makes this a little less awkward."

Todd muttered something in German under his breath before growling, "I am not any of t'ose." He shook his head and glanced to the right, noticing a slash of gray on the bright red land, "T'ink t'at is shade?"

"It's a better prospect thn'anything else," Solomon agreed, his eyes catching the dull smudge on the vibrant landscape. He shifted course, his now-dusty dress shoes sinking slightly with every step in the sand.

Almost loosing his balance, Todd followed him, avoiding the barely surviving vegetation while at the same time starting to sweat and grunt from carrying the limp female. He ignored the ping from the stone he wore beneath his shirt, telling him that danger was near. Of course danger was near! They were in a fucking desert.

Solomon glanced back as Todd tripped and caught himself, watching only long enough to see that he and the girl were alright. He turned back to watch where his own feet fell as he walked. "Watch for raiders," He warned. "Oases draw all sorts of types, and they're looking for the kind with money or the kind who won't be missed."

Carlita heard voices but did not want to wake up. Even though her head was throbbing and the light did not help things she eventually gave in and saw two men whom she has never encountered before. They seemed to be discussing something important and she did not know if it would be wise to join in. Then it hit her, the man was carrying her. She was speechless and visibly blushed. She finally found her voice and asked, "Who are you?"

Todd went stiff and slowly looked down at her, his shock in seeing her awake almost caused him to drop her a second time. Gritting his teeth into an awkward half smile, "...Can you stand?"

Carlita felt immensely awkward about the situation. Although she remembered her shrine training about being civil and tried not to let her temper get in the way. So she musters her courage and looked in Todd's eyes. "Thank you for caring about my welfare but I believe I can stand." Her blush a bit duller now but in a way this man reminded her of the past she tried so hard to seal away. She still wondered a lot of things but knew questions would be answered soon enough.

"The dame lives," Solomon praised, raising an eyebrow and pausing to look back at her. "Welcome to the Inexplicable Desert. I'm Solomon Ash, and the man you're currently staring at is Todd."

Carlita actually smiled at the informal nature of this other man by the name of Solomon. "Nice to meet you... both. My name is Carlita Serinato. So we are in a desert? That explains the heat." She welcomed the distraction that this Solomon provided.

"Although it doesn't excuse it," Solomon gave a distasteful glare up at the sun under his hat. "We shouldn't stay out here too long. Let's get moving." He began to walk again.

Todd set her on her feet, feeling odd just standing there before setting after the other man, his fingers twitching as he fought the urge to cover his face with his scarf. It was obvious this was the first time he had interacted with other people in a while.

Carlita nodded at Solomon's suggestion but noticed Todd being a bit more distant. So she said, "I understand how you feel but maybe we should just get to know a bit more about one another." Carlita gave him a gentle smile before she shifted her attention to Solomon.

"Oh, I don't know, you seem a gal of many talents, I'm sure we can walk and talk at the same time," Solomon suggested, turning around and walking backwards long enough to throw out the idea.

Todd let out a quiet chuckle before leaning towards the right, where a large crag of overhanging red rock suddenly cracked through the sand, obviously been that way for a long while with how the stone was so weathered.

Carlita looked at Solomon with a curious look but asked, "What makes you think that Mr. Solomon?" She noticed the different colors and texture. She wondered Are we in the past or future? What does this mean? Carlita keeps looked around but ran into Todd. "Oh please excuse me."

Flinching slightly, Todd leaned away so that she only brushed by him slightly, "As a woman you should be able to multitask a lot better then us males." He squinted off to the side with what could be could be considered a sneer on his face.

Carlita glared at Todd. "Well I am pleased to see you have such a high opinion of females. However, each female has a different take on life just like not all males try to have intercourse with a woman within 5 feet from them. If that were the case with you then I would be in trouble. So I can understand your frustration but please refrain in using your charming sarcasm." After her retort she moved away from Todd and continued to look around. Nothing looks familiar... I wonder if this has anything to do with the stones...

"Not all men are animals." Todd answered, an odd glint in his eyes that pierced past his goggles... and interpreting his body language would say that he was not including himself in his comment.

Carlita fought the urge to shiver at the subtle body language. As she dusted herself off as a force of habit. She asked, "Am I annoying you Mr. Todd?"

Surprisingly, he chuckled, "Ma'am... t'eh whole human society annoys me. It is simply, well, t'eh way I am." Todd was calm now and continued walking as if the event hadn’t occurred. The German man followed Solomon under the crag of rock.

Solomon smirked. "He's a real hermit, live and in person," He explained, jogging forward in the sand to hide beneath the shade of the rock. "Although how he ended up here, we may never know." He looked up at the looming red boulder. "I'm just assuming this is a byproduct of an over fondness of Jack Daniels."

Carlita walked over and lightly pinched Solomon. "Well you are real and not a dream of any kind. I can see that Mr. Todd has his own way of doing things. I am not so different from him. Why do you think this is a product of "Jack Daniels"?

Solomon pulled his arm away from Carlita out of pinching range. "I don't think that proves anything at all. I know what a pinch feels like. Now, if I were to shoot myself in the foot, since I've never had that experience, that would be a more accurate test. If it hurts like hell, as unlikely as it is, this is probably real," He said. "I don't know about you, but I'm not particularly accustomed to being thrown in the middle of some godforsaken desert without so much as a briefing."

Carlita laughed softly at Solomon's example. "I have to agree with you about not being accustomed to being brought to somewhere unfamiliar. I don't think it is matter of being accustomed to anything like this. This has a reason behind it. I don't believe in shooting at limbs so guess you will find out eventually that this is real." Carlita walked over to the far side of the cave and began to pray even though she wasn't sure to who. This was something she usually did not do.

Solomon watched her kneel and took off his hat in respect, crossing himself. He gave her some distance, muttering his doubts at the wisdom of taking the time to pray in a place like this, but voiced none of them loud enough to be heard properly. The air in the cave was slightly cooler than outside, but it was still stifling.

Shrugging, Todd sat himself down and took out one of his pikes. A scorpion scuttled across the rock directly in front of him. With a soft thunk the blade shot out, slicing through its soft body easily. Lifting it towards him, "What do you believe this is?"

Carlita open her eyes to Todd's question. "I think it has something to do with the fabled stones." She touched the stone she had hidden in her pocket and flinched involuntarily every time she touched it. Then she looked over and saw the scorpion at the end of Todd's blade. "That is a scorpion one of the star constellations in the sky but also a deadly creature." I really should look before I speak. I need to stop thinking so much about the stones.

"What stones?" Solomon asked, looking at the impaled scorpion before resting his frown on Carlita.

Carlita let out an aggravated sigh. She should have known it would not have gone without question. "There is a legend concerning 12 stones. 6 for good and 6 for bad. It depends on the one bestowed with its power. It is fabled that once the twelve come together they will clash and conflict will start. The outcome is still unknown." She recited what she had been taught at the shrine and added nothing else. She focused her attention to the scorpion and wondered if it could be cooked.

Solomon frowned further, not liking where this was going. "You think our random displacement has something to do with your legend?" He asked, unbuttoning his vest and taking it off to fasten it to the jacket over his arm.

"...you mean somet'ing like this?" Todd dug a hand beneath his shirt to take out the blue moonstone on the tainted silver. His hand, where he touched it looked slightly see-through, though one had to look closely to tell.

Carlita shrugged at Solomon's question. "I am not sure if it is that legend or the one where the stones guides each of the bestowed ones to the person they will protect or defend for the rest of their lives. Those are the two stories that many wonder if they are true or not." Carlita looks at Todd's stone and looks stunned. She fought the anxious urge to pull out her stone. She asked Todd. "Where did you get the blue moonstone?"

Hastily, he put it away. "It... it's been mine before I found it. I was meant to find it." Todd wiped the dead thing off the blade, putting it away as well.

Carlita cursed herself for bringing up such a heavy subject. So she looked at the scorpion and had an idea to get rid of the heavy cloud. "So anyone hungry? How does scorpion sound to you guys?"

"Eh... its a bit... small." Todd looked at the thing with distaste and looked away. "No t'ank you."

Carlita smiled at Todd's reaction. "I have had to learn how to survive in situations like these. I can cook scorpion. The choice is up to you." Carlita prepared the scorpion and made a small fire to cook the small parts of it.

"I'm a bit more concerned about a water supply than a bit of scorpion, but thank you for the offer," Solomon said. He glanced around the cave. "This'll do for shelter for now. I'm going to go see if there isn't a reservoir nearby." He laid his coat and jerkin on a nearby jut of rock, but kept his hat as he walked out of the cave. With a grunt, he hoisted himself onto the outside of the red cave, its cool stone protected by shade. When he reached the top, he swore as his fingers touched the burning rock. He stood at its apex, dusting off his hands and gazing at the desolate landscape with a grim expression.

Carlita continued to cook but the emotions started to swirl around in the fire. She had to resist the urge to put the fire out. Once she was finished she put the fire out but tears streamed down her slightly dirty face. She hoped the men were too busy to notice.

Todd stood and stretched, "I'm going help Solomon." Stepping outside, the man climbed up to where he had seen Solomon go, following him.

"I remember when I enlisted in the American Air Force, they gave us survival booklets, in case we ever crash landed in a place like this," Solomon told Todd once he had joined him on the top of the rock. "But I don't think they wrote it for this." He scanned the horizon once more. "Maybe your eyes are sharper than mine. Do you see any plant life, or ground worth digging up?"

"I... I don't." He touched his goggles briefly, wincing at the light that managed to get in when he did so, "My eye sight isn't well here at all. You would most likely find somet'ing better then I." Looking around, Todd pointed in the distance, "What about that?" Far to the west the landscape changed color.

Solomon squinted at where he pointed. "It's worth investigating," He said. He carefully set off down the red rock back onto the sandy dunes, assuming Todd would follow. "Do you know what she was talking about with those stones?" He asked him.

The German man stalked after him, wrapping his scarf around the twin weapons he carried. "T'eh stones... I have heard different versions of what she said, but it all leads to the same ending. Six on the side of light, or good, and six to evil." Todd ignored the stones urging to be quiet, but instead continued on, "It is how birt'eh stones came to be, but not all of t'ese have the myt'ical powers able."

"Christ," Solomon muttered, "I'll wait for the movie, thanks." Shaking his head, he said louder, "Alright, for the sake of the hangover to come, I'll take that, sure." The landscape grew more rocky. Unfortunately, Solomon's shoes were not built for traveling over harsh terrain, so he had a bit of a hard time of it. "What about that stone of yours? Is that one imbued with mythical powers?"

Todd chuckled, "You might say t'at." If the moon came out tonight, he wouldn't be able to hide it, but for now it was his, and the stone's secret. Scrambling up the rock faces like a mountain goat, Todd lowered his hand to help his companion.

Solomon took Todd's hand firmly, using it more for leverage than to be pulled. "Thanks," He said, gaining his footing on the higher ground. "Did you get it the same place you got those weird pikes?" He asked.

He nodded curtly, not agreeing with the 'weird' description, but he was right nevertheless. His weapons were clean and efficient. Todd stood up straight, looking over the other edge to where they were growing. Now that they were higher up, they could see a few miles a away a stretch of green invaded the dull red and yellow.

"Hm." His eyes caught sight of the oasis not too far away. "Ah! Good. Some life in this place after all. Let's go." He carefully walked down the rocky slope, his hand brushing the revolver at his hip as he threw out his arms for balance.

Carlita was still in the cave and was thankful that the men were out gallivanting, she pulled out her stone and clutched it in anger. This is the reason my family fought and got murdered over. Our talents got the envy and fear of those who live around us. Why did I even mention the legend? I should have not said anything at all. I won't mention my family history to the men, it is one thing I refuse to talk about with anyone. Carlita sat there in silence until she heard footsteps behind her. She grabbed her weapon to start defend herself if necessary. Suddenly the floor below her seemed to shift from beneath her and she was sinking. She searched for something to pull herself up but the only thing there was a small stick that was out of her reach.

The sand stopped when she was sufficiently buried up to her neck, "I'm going to give you an ultimatum, little girl." A man stood before her, a dusty tan cloak pulled up over his face, the sandy garments he wore blended well with the desert.

Carlita strained against the sand but the voice sounded familiar. "Who are you? Why have you trapped me in the sand? I am of little value to you so why give me an Ultimatum?" Carlita hoped it wasn't who she thought it was. She could feel her family heirloom pulsating through her hand as if calm her but she was panicking.

"You're wrong, those thoughts and feelings." The man responded, "Get your family and familiarity out of your damn mind. I've never known you before now. But you are something of interest to me... 1 of 12. Despite the fact that your personality disgusts me, I want the power that you possess. You can either live and strive towards my goals or die now, buried within that sand. How about it, girl?"

Carlita laughed bitterly at his comment. "Nice of you to make things clear. Your voice reminded me of a past struggle and it is just the same. The lust for power follows those who bear it. Oh and why does my personality disgust you? I have done nothing of offense except harbor my own ghosts which mean nothing to you. So tell me then since my death will come whether or not I give you the stone at all." She was no longer panicking and it surprised her with the ease of the words. As much as she was upset by the fact her mother trusted her with this stone. She would not be stupid enough to hand it over to someone who does not respect the stone for what it is.

"Oh, no, that's where you're wrong." He replied, "This isn't a struggle for power, it is a struggle to save the world. You're too high and mighty in your own senses and woes to see it. You've thought about it certainly 'past or future', 'stones of power', but did you know that the stones are people, not gems themselves? You've been brought here for a reason, quite simply it is to keep this world from disappearing and keep your own future from being destroyed with it. There really is little choice in the matter." He glanced to the mouth of the cave, there was nobody coming yet.

Carlita bristled at that statement. "Who are you to say who is high and mighty when you had to result to using sand to trap a person? I did figure there was a reason but what gives you the right to declare what is right and wrong? I can understand the struggle to keep the world in one piece but the creation of some of the stones was purely a lust for some sort of upper hand. Were you so worried about me attacking you? Why could you not treat me as a human being and talk rationally with me? Why do you have me trapped like a vicious animal?" If worst comes to worst I will have to do something drastic. Then maybe the final end won't be so bad. Mother...please don't be angry with me...I love you all and I have been alone all this time. May the men remain safe.

"You're not going to trick me. This isn't lusting for the upper hand or a worry over you attacking me. In your current condition you wouldn't last. This is me giving you a choice. What is your decision?" He looked bored now.

Carlita glared at the man who seemed awfully arrogant. "I will not give you the stone. I was not using trickery. Again who are you to decide who makes it or not? I will take the responsibility I was given till the end. I may not be as strong as some other people but I will brave the end whatever it may be." The stone pulsated again and it seemed to send a single throughout the area. Carlita closed her eyes and just waited.

"You just don't get it." He wanted to tear his hair out, this girl was so dense! "Obviously you've chosen wrong." he turned and began to walk away, with each step he took she sank deeper and deeper into the sand. Soon it would swallow her whole and she would suffocate.

Carlita did not care if her answer was not right to him. She did not care what this mysterious man thought. She did care though about her new acquaintances. So she left this message float around. I hope you guys will be strong and fight to keep the world in one piece. I hope you stay strong in your choices no matter if others say they are wrong. If I do not make it alive then take the stone and find someone more worthy then me but do not let it go to any person but one who is worthy.

Solomon received the thought, but didn't know who it was from, or why it would pop into his head, since he is neither telepathic nor a believer in the sixth sense. "Well, that's a nice, crazy thought to have," He muttered. "Must be heatstroke's getting to me." He looked up at the hot sky grimly, taking off the hat and wiping the sweat from his brow before replacing it. They had been walking for a good half an hour, but they had finally made it to the oasis. His shirt was practically soaked through from the heat. He looked around. "Nice and deserted," He said, grinning at Todd. "It's so quiet out here."

"Yeah, barely any wind et'her." Todd was also sweating very badly. Since there were no woman around the German man shimmied out of his hood and cloak, revealing the white shirt underneath. "-lets get to the water quickly, you my friend look to be needing some." He looked for a moment for the quickest way down to the other side, and began his descent.

Solomon followed him and shed his shirt, gun belt, and shoes as he ran to the pool of clear water awaiting them in the center of the oasis. He leapt into the water, a brief shock to his system how cool the water was, sheltered from the heat by the trees in the copse. He resurfaced shortly, tossing his head to free his face from the water. "Wow, that's good," He said, grinning. He sucked in the water through his lips.

Todd however was less enthusiastic and cupped his hands together to bring water to his lips. Tipping his head forward, Todd also soaked his hair and neck, taking off his shirt to soak it as well. "I don't have any containers on me."

Solomon swam to the bank and shoved himself up. He looked around the oasis. "No, neither do I. We shouldn't really bother with the cave, honestly. We'll just bring the gal, what's her name, Carlita here instead."

Carlita was not sure if she was dead from suffocation or she was hallucinating. She could see them at the Oasis. She could still feel the stone in her hand so she figured she must be still alive for some reason. She tried to physically speak but nothing came out. So she thought their names, Mr. Todd... Mr. Solomon? She was confused on why she was even able to breath still. She tried to move a little but seemed to be stuck. She remembered the words of the man who put her in this position. She began to focus on the stone and managed to find the will to find her way out. She finally got out of the undertow and started to dig her way back up. Exhausted she climbed out and tears fell. Once on solid ground she collapsed but wondered out loud. "Did I really see Mr. Todd and Mr. Solomon at an Oasis?"

"Sounds like a plan." Todd proceeded to redress himself, but left the cloak and scarf off, cleaning one of his blades before looking to Solomon, "You can carry her t'is time." Grinning, the German man chuckled and made sure he had drank enough water to leave. "Oh, just a moment." Hurrying behind some bushes, Todd relieved himself.

Solomon chuckled, putting on his clothes without bothering to dry himself; the sun was doing that already, and running his hand through his brown hair it was already only damp. He took another draught of the cool, clear water, splashing his face again. He waited till Todd was finished, then re-belted his gun to his hip. "Let's go," He said, and set off across the desert again back to the cave.

Once they made it over the ridge, over again they were stuck with sand, sticking to every slightly damp surface. Todd grimaced but continued to follow where their tracks were, keeping an eye on their surroundings and to the urges of the stone.

They arrived again at the caves. Solomon brushed the sand from his forearms and called in, "Still here, doll?" He came into the cave shortly after, looking for the girl.

Carlita let out a pained groan as she woke back up. She thought about all the words the man had said especially his last words. Maybe he is right as I am right now, things will get tough. Maybe my stone was telling me something. When she heard Mr. Solomon she perked up a bit. She called back, "I am over here." She tried to get up but fell back on her knees.

Solomon went to her side and supported her by the arms. "What the hell happened?" He asked. "Some brief psychotic episode leave you thinkin' you were a chinchilla in need of a dust bath?" He dusted off one hand on his pants before returning it to support her.

Ignoring them both, Todd knelt where the stone told him to, noticing several footprints. None of them belonged to him, Solomon, or Carlita. "Someone was here." He looked up to glare at the girl, "Someone was here wit’ you."

Carlita was grateful for Mr. Solomon's support but she still was not able to piece together her thoughts. She could feel Mr. Todd's glare so she answered his demanding gaze with a weary look and nodded at his statement that someone was there with her. She managed to find some stable ground where she can speak again. "Did you guys find an oasis? I will tell more about my encounter once I can think more clearly."

Solomon nodded, helping her to her feet with one arm wrapped around her waist. He looked at the footprints Todd had found. "Whoever it was, he didn't stay long, or do much, for that matter," He said. "Alright, let's get you to some water." He took his coat and vest and helped her out of the cave and walked her to the oasis.

Todd stayed a moment longer, memorizing the layout of the footprints in case they encountered them again, then set out behind the pair. While they settled down next to the water Todd took out a weapon, this time in his left hand and went out on patrol. Just in case.

Carlita followed and she still held her stone in her right hand with a firm grip. The experience echoed through her head. She began to wonder why the whole thing was set up and why was this was so eye opening. She did not voice any of this while making there way to the oasis. Once they got there she drank some fresh water. As she splashed water on her face she actually smiled. What I saw was real and the stone was trying to tell me something. Once she was done, she sat down on a fairly large rock. "When you guys left I was thinking about a past that had been gone for 10 years now. Then this stranger appeared who had control over sand, and had it filled to my neck and wanted me to give up my stone to him and work for him. I choose not to and he said I choose wrong. This resulted in me sinking in the sand since I had refused his offer. So I had to find my strength and fight my way back up. That is why my clothes are covered with sand. Some of the things he said made sense but I doubt he will be seen again anytime soon. You see my family had talents mostly dealing with the mind such as telepathy and all that. However when word got out mystical stones were discovered, my father lusted for one of them. He taught that lust to my brothers, one night they were given an ultimatum by one of the richest/powerful people in the town. They refused and the end result was our house being burned to the ground. Gunshots rang throughout the night that resulted in mom, dad, sister and my brothers’ death. The only two who survived were me and my oldest sister who now hides under a different name. Before mom died she gave me the Agate stone and told me to live a better life." Tears fell to the water and she could feel the stone soothing her. This was the first time she told anyone about these events that transpired. She steadied herself and gazed at Mr. Todd and Mr. Solomon to see their response.

It was probably for the best that Todd had left them on patrol, so it was just Solomon who heard her story. He pondered it for a moment. "I'm very sorry to hear that," He told her sympathetically. "Did you recognise the man who buried you?"

Carlita let out a sigh. "I thought his voice sounded familiar but he told me to get the damn familiarity out of my head. He had not met me until the time he had planned to bury me in sand. I did not see his face since he kept it covered. I annoyed him with my questions and perspective. Thanks for the sympathy Mr.Solomon. You must think that I am silly right?"

Solomon frowned slightly. "My name is Solomon Ash, doll. Just stick with Solomon and we'll get along fine." He winked. He knelt and dipped his hands in the water, rubbing off the sand from his hands and face. His coat and vest were laid carefully on the rock next to Carlita, and he kept an eye on them. "I don't think you're silly, Carlita." He grimaced and looked around the oasis, his head still bothering him. "Lost and a little misguided, maybe, but there's nothing "silly" about having your family taken from you." His face darkened for a moment and he receded back into himself. He shook his head and turned to the girl again. "Where are you from, anyway?"

Carlita didn't feel as uncomfortable. She would try to drop so much formality. "..Solomon I lived in a place by the name of Isol which was pretty far away from a big city. It was more of a community of families. Once my family died though, I ended up wondering the road for 2 years until I ended up at the shrine. You have a gift too don't you? Why do you call me doll?"

Solomon couldn't help but smile at her naivete. "It's a nickname, like a pet name, like kid or sport or sweetie. Isol, huh? Good name for a backwards little town. You've got a wierd way of talking, is why I ask, and Carlita, that's a Spanish name, isn't it?"

Carlita couldn't help but laugh a little at his question. "It does have Spanish influence although not sure what it means though. My mother came from a Spanish family. I work at the Shrinea Shrine which was located closer to the city of Emeu. My family always made sure we spoke proper. My older sister speaks better than I do. Oh ok so doll is equivelant to an affectonate nick name." She focused her mind on a rock and lifted it for 2 minutes. "Ok need to work on it a bit."

"Nice to know eloquence is still a valued commodity," Solomon smirked. He watched the rock clatter to the ground, a little unnerved by it. He reminded himself that this might not actually be real, and relaxed. "That's quite impressive."

Carlita did not need to read his mind to know his reaction. She notice the change of his reaction and looked at him for a few minuets. "I am sorry that I surprised you. I won't practice around others. So what about you..M..Solomon? Where do you come from?"

Solomon cocked one eyebrow and shrugged at her needless decision. "Chicago, originally, but these days I live in LA," He smirked, and muttered, "if you can call that living."

Carlita tilted her head at the last part. "Is something wrong with LA or is it your current life situation?" She hoped she was not treading on sensitive ground.

He smiled, but it was a grim and patronising smile. "I'm a private detective in West Hollywood." He reached beside her and pulled a wallet out of his trenchcoat. Unfolding it, he pointed to a picture of a beautiful woman laughing next to a smiling little girl, maybe three or four years old. "That's my wife, Jessica, and my daughter, Alice." His face softened into a small smile and his voice seemed more gentle.

Carlita looked at the picture as tears swelled in her eyes. "They look happy and healthy.I am glad that you are grateful for your family. I notice there is a grim tone to your smile when you mentioned you are a private detective. Is there a reason for that?" Carlita quickly wiped her eyes as she waited for Solomon's reply.

Solomon's forehead crinkled at her and he grinned, bemused. "Do you always state everything you see?"

At that moment Todd stumbled into view, both pikes out and keeping a snarling desert lion from clawing up his throat. Curiously, though, everytime the lion took a swipe at him it didn't hit him, but went through him. But Todd was tiring. Several other lions were rushing in from several angles, one leaping at Solomon.

Solomon's revolver was out of its holster in an instant. With a loud report, he shot the oncoming lion in the chest without realizing he had drawn the weapon. That didn't stop its momentum, however, and it barreled into him, knocking them both into the water.

Quickly, just a glance really, Todd made sure Solomon was alright before grunting, slicing through the lion's neck. Before it's corpse met the sandy ground, the man threw one of his pikes that landed in the eye socket of the second to the last lioness that was pouncing on Carlita. The last lion, growled at him, crouching down then retreated, running off into the underbrush and disappearing.

Carlita looked around but then notice blood ran down her arm where she had got a scratch from a stone she was backed up against. She looked over at Solomon and Mr. Todd. She got up and walked over near the water. She ripped a piece of her white sleeve. She washed the sleeve clean and then kept it damp. She tore more pieces from her sleeves until she had enough to use. She tied off her injury. She asked, "Are you guys all right?" She pulled out a pouch of water she had drawn from her shrine the day before she ended up in a desert. "Do you guys need water?"

Another shot put down the lion for good, bursting clean through its brains. Solomon threw the lion from on top of him back onto shore and coughed his lungs free of the water. His eyes darted around the oasis, seeing Todd and Carlita mostly uninjured, and several other dead lions. "I don't think I approve of these new friends you bring home, Todd," He said, catching his breath and holstering his gun.

Carlita watched the men from a distance but made sure she got the materials for healing.

Todd ignored the woman, "Sorry, t'ey followed me home, I didn't want to keep t'em, promise." He cleaned his blade on one of the dead creatures, walking over to the final one and pulling his other weapon free.

Solomon knelt by his kill, prodding it with the barrel of his gun. "I didn't know lions lived in the desert," He said absent-mindedly. "I've never tasted lion before, but there's a first time for everything." He looked up at Todd. "Can you, haha, how many ways can you skin a cat, Todd?" He smirked at the joke in his valid question.

He smirked back, "Well, we'll find out won't we?" Todd pulled out a small knife and began to work at it.

Carlita let out a semi shaky breath and suggested, "Keep as much of the fur as you can. It will probably get cold." Carlita looked around to see if there was anything she could start a small fire with. Then she noticed a strange mark on the back of a dead lion's paw. "Guys do you think this mark means anything?" She pointed to the mark on the paw.

Solomon took a look. "It's a scar," He told her. "An old wound it probably got fighting for dominance in its pack." He looked to Todd. "If you'll lend me a blade, I'll get started on this one." He stretched out a hand.

Flipping out another blade, Todd deftly threw it to the other man. Something caught his eye however in the water, it was something that his stone was warning him about, and it was strong enough that he had completely stopped skinning the lion.

Solomon caught the blade and Todd's glance. He turned as well to the water, his grey-green eyes flickering across the pool's surface. He took his lion by the scruff of the neck and pulled it away from the bank, just in case.

Carlita got an eerie feeling about the oasis. She quickly put up her healing stuff and helped Solomon. As she helped Solomon she noticed the water seemed to get darker. "Solomon I think we need to get further back. If I am seeing this right it will turn into a whirlpool or something to that effect." She just had that overwhelming feeling things were going to change drastically.

"A whirlpool?" Todd scoffed, "Don't be ridiculous, stuff like that only happens in comic books." He continued skinning the beast, occasionally muttering under his breath.

Carlita bit her tongue as she tried to remain strong in her resolve. "Don't you notice the water getting darker and Mr. Todd seems focused on the water?" She tried reasoning with him even though she knows sudden appearing whirlpools in an Oasis was mainly actions of fiction. She tried again, "Please just humor me and move the lion back further."

"I'm sure it was nothing," Solomon said darkly, but dragged the carcass a few additional feet before he knelt by the lion again. "Every move I make does not require narration or any great importance bestowed on it," He said to Carlita. Readying the borrowed blade in his hands, he sawed open the tough old hide of the lion. "Tough old brute," He noted, cutting down the belly of it, and suddenly stopped, staring at the gore with a frown. "Do lions have gallstones?" He asked uncertainly.

Carlita did not mean to make it sound like his movement needed a narration. She just took it with a grain of salt. When she heard that the lion has gallstones, thoughts began to transpire. "I am not a scientist but it does pose an interesting question. Maybe Mr. Todd will know something or it could mean we are dealing with something new."

Solomon reached into the still warm stomach of the lion and pulled out a smooth, round, flat green and red-speckled stone no larger than a riverstone. He rubbed it clean on the lion's fur and held it up to the bright desert light.

Todd glanced over, "What's t'at?" He was curious; the man had never heard of large cats eating stones before, "Maybe he ate someone wi't t'at on 'em."

Carlita looked at the stone then her attention was directed to her pocket, where she kept her stone,and noticed a faint light. I wonder if this stone is another one. She just nodded at Todds statment but her thoughts were trying to piece together what happened. She stepped closer and hers got brighter.

"Not a lot of quarry workers around here, but I certainly hope you're right," Solomon said, staring at the polished, mottled red and green stone. He turned it over in his hands, examining the smooth surface. "Not even scars on it like you'd find on a pendant."

"Das ist strange t'at an animal such as t'is would have eaten such a t'ing." Todd had accidently reverted to his home language for a moment of weakness. The stone pulsed at his chest; warning.

"Ya, das ist," Solomon stared at him, his thoroughly American accent mangling the German. His eyes flickered back to the stone and he gazed at it, trying to avoid the obvious conclusion. He shoved it in his pants pocket and gave a sigh. "Hopefully a lion with a gallstone tastes just as well as a lion without," He concluded, and went back to shoveling out the large cat's internal organs, spilling its blood on the sand.

Carlita shook her head and focused back on what was going on. She asked, "So how are we to cook this big kitty?" She kept her thoughts to herself, for now, considering the last time she voiced concern it was not accepted. She looked around to see what her options were as far as cooking the lion.
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2009-03-13 [Chel.]: SO tempted to toss Divya up from that thing though! XD At least it would be something to do.

2009-03-16 [Chel.]: Curious...but what's going on?

2009-03-16 [Aeolynn]: I'm so confused.

2009-03-17 [Chel.]: I mean like... when are we coming together? They all seem a bit dead atm. Not to mention my rper kinda... split.

2009-03-17 [Pnelma Tirian]: I'm giving Solomon his stone. WHY THE HELL NOT I THINK.

2009-03-19 [Chel.]: why do people just bail?!

2009-03-20 [Pnelma Tirian]: because nothing is going on.

2009-03-20 [Ravendust]: Mmkay, so the idea was, where everyone is right now there's something critical going on that needs to be solved by individual groups before anybody else gets brought together. I've been away for three days- extremely busy, I do apologize...

2009-03-21 [Chel.]: The two in group 2 are about to go to bed. Nothing all that thrilling.

2009-07-13 [Chel.]: DEAD.

2009-07-13 [Aeolynn]: ALL HAIL THE KING

2009-07-13 [~Crimson Angel~]: This place died, my group probably died first because the two people I was rping with got into some sort of dispute.

2009-07-13 [Chel.]: It just totally blows...I loved my character and right before things were going to come together in this rp...the thing was bombed.

2009-07-13 [Aeolynn]: Yeah... and Dee hasn't really had internet access...

2009-07-13 [~Crimson Angel~]: Yeah, I know. Maybe when she gets back on she can restart this rp by asking the people who joined if they still want to take part and the ones that don't she can remove.

2009-07-13 [Pnelma Tirian]: That would be lovely.

2009-07-15 [~Crimson Angel~]: Yeah, I think so.

2009-07-15 [loonygirl2005]: It was an interesting plot line really.

2009-07-16 [~Crimson Angel~]: Yes, yes it was.

2009-07-16 [Chel.]: Well I'm up for it..

2009-07-16 [~Crimson Angel~]: Coolness

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